With a new year here, it’s an appropriate time to look at the current state of the cloud communications sector, and the emerging trends and technologies likely to affect it in 2017.
Security Planning, Review, Sovereignty And Auditing
The alarming number of high-profile security breaches which came to light in 2016 (and a correspondingly large amount of lower level incidents that never made the news) underscore the fact that enterprise management and security controls for networks and communications systems still have a long way to go.
With threat levels still escalating – and with the provisions of the European Union’s data privacy laws holding the prospect of hefty fines for lax practices and non-disclosure over the heads of many a strained Budget department – organizations are in for a tough time policing their own information sharing and data governance policies.
Call logs, transaction records, and customer data will have to be closely scrutinized to establish the origins and sovereignty of information held on corporate servers, and robust security plans incorporating audit and reviews put in place.
Increasing Numbers Of Endpoints
Desktop phones and mobile handsets won’t be the only consideration for communications provisioning and management, as the continuing growth of IoT (Internet of Things) connectivity brings increasing numbers of cloud-connected receivers and transmitters into the mix. This will also have implications for security, data privacy, and the allocation and provision of network bandwidth.
Intelligent And Virtual Software Platforms
Cloud-based software is already fueling virtual desktop (Desktop as a Service) and Unified Communications (UC) infrastructures. Expect this trend to continue, together with the addition of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and artificially intelligent software platforms bringing enhanced features to office productivity apps, marketing, customer service, and other areas.
Voice-activated intelligent search applications, immersive training, and virtual 3D presence for video conferencing are just some of the technologies likely to feature here.
Unified Communications (UC)
Until now, businesses have pretty much been testing the waters so far as Unified Communications are concerned. But with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Session Initial Protocol (SIP) trunking, and cloud-hosted telecoms infrastructure proving their worth – and with the phasing out of older technologies like ISDN (in some cases, by law) – expect moves to more fully embrace the convergence of telecommunications, internet-based data transfer, and integrated suites of productivity applications.
As a user-centric technology, UC is also placed to capitalize on the increasing trend for mobile workforces and flexible working practices.
Improving Customer Experience (CX)
The combined effects of the preceding trends set the stage for an increased and technology-enhanced focus on customer satisfaction.
Intelligent analytics may combine with augmented or virtual reality techniques to provide customer-specific product product promotions and demos that immerse potential buyers in the environment of the goods and services they’re considering. Greater discretion and sensitivity in the handling of consumer data and the many gathering points from which it’s being collected will be part of the balancing act which enterprises will have to undertake to remain in step with the law.